Posted:
Back in March, we announced an exciting partnership between The Vancouver Film School and YouTube to award full-tuition scholarships to three YouTubers from around the world. The May 9 deadline for the competition is now 10 days away, so consider this your final (gentle) reminder to enter.



The Vancouver Film School's motto is "Results Matter," so we challenged you to create a short film, animation or creative pitch addressing the theme "What Matters To You" and to name the Vancouver Film School program you wished to attend. The competition is open to filmmakers, directors, actors, writers, animators – anyone who can seem themselves benefiting from programs like Acting Essentials, Classical Animation, Digital Design, Film Production and Writing for Film and Television (to see the full list, visit www.vfs.com).



For those of you who still haven't entered, here are some thoughts to consider. First, this competition is about finding students with creativity and drive, not with a perfect set of skills. If you already knew how to make a film, write a screenplay or design a game, why would you be going to school? So don't be intimidated by the competition - if you have a great idea, express it!



Second, this competition isn't about why you want to go to Vancouver Film School. It's about what matters to you in the world. Is it family? Is it peace? Is it the environment? Is it love? Is it travel? Tell us a story through your film, animation or pitch, and let this question inspire you. If your work shows you have creativity and drive, you could find yourself in the top 10. The YouTube community will then vote for three winners.



It's not often you get a chance to go to a prestigious, international film school for free, so stop reading this blog and start creating. You have 10 days left!



Good luck!



Sara P.


YouTube Film

Posted:
Welcome to Trendspotting Tuesday, week four, in which we take a not-so-straight-faced look at the genre known as "mockumentary."



From quirky pseudo-sports to rock bands that go all the way to eleven, countless subjects have been given the mockumentary treatment. Filmmaker Christopher Guest is arguably the master mockumentarian, having perfected many of the genre's conventions in films like Spinal Tap and Best in Show, while the Ricky Gervais-created British TV show The Office has spawned international spin-offs in America, Germany, France and Quebec.



Online video makers have not been slow to document – or perhaps that should be mockument – the antics of characters who take themselves, and their hobbies, a bit too seriously. With over 9,500 videos on YouTube tagged as "mockumentary," you can expect plenty of deadpan voice-overs, fictitious "facts" and painfully embarrassing interviews.



YouTube users have posted mock-docs created as film-school projects, high-school projects and no-frills backyard productions. And while they don't all reach the giddy heights of hilarity that Christopher Guest can wring out of an over-earnest interviewee, it's obvious that people are having fun with the format. We've gathered together some of our favorite mocks for a Trendspotting Tuesday homepage takeover and this misinformation-packed playlist. Perhaps it will provide you with the inspiration to create a mock-classic of your own.







Tune in next Tuesday for another take on the trends that make our video community unique. And if there's a trend you'd like us to highlight, leave a comment below or drop us a note on the Trendspotting Tuesday channel, where you can find playlists from our previous trendspotting features.



Cheers,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
Energy independence has been one of the most talked-about issues of this election — and if you've filled up your gas tank lately, you know why. With oil exceeding $115 a barrel, and gas prices expected to reach a national average of $4.00 a gallon by the summer, the need to reform our current energy policy is no longer just an environmental issue, it's becoming an economic necessity.







Most Americans agree that we should decrease our dependence on foreign oil, but precisely what steps should be taken? Should we begin drilling in untapped oil reserves in states such as Alaska? Should we invest in alternative forms of energy, such as corn-based ethanol? Should we concentrate on developing more hybrid technology? Or, as some suggest, is the energy crisis really an economic crisis in disguise and so should strengthening the dollar be our first priority?



Senator Joe Biden was among the first politicians to bring the conversation about reforming U.S. energy policy to YouTube. Back during his moment in the You Choose '08 Spotlight, he asked voters what they would do to break America's dependence on oil. He received many responses, including this one from Razela, who suggests that the government offers tax incentives to automakers based on gas efficiency standards. Check out Senator Biden's response to Razela's video.



To learn a little about the economics of oil, watch this video from CBS News, in which Josh Landis and Mitch Butler of the Fast Draw team give a quick but thorough overview of what factors determine gas prices—complete with pictures.



Addressing the issue of alternative energy, Ethan Block of WhatShouldYouKnow offers some interesting facts (and opinions) about corn-based ethanol. Meanwhile, hoping to dispel the stereotype that oil companies only care about profits, John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Company, presented one of the keynote speeches at the first Low Carbon Fuels Conference in Sacramento this April.



Michelle Kaufmann's YouTube Channel is dedicated to helping individuals make their daily lives more "eco-friendly." In this video, Kaufmann shows us how to make eco-friendly candles from renewable resources like soy and beeswax.



If you're environmentally conscious and looking for a laugh, watch this "eco-parody"of the film There Will Be Blood, made especially for Earth Day. And finally, watch this video from shiftinaction, in which environmental advocate Van Jones reminds us that energy independence isn't an isolated issue — it's connected to every issue facing America's future.








Yours,

Steve G.

Posted:
Last month, we posted about our efforts to make YouTube as open as possible and shared a few examples of partners who were integrating YouTube content into their applications. Today, we'd like to point out another example.



Google Docs is a free, web-based word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation application that allows you to share and collaborate with others in real-time. The Docs team just announced on their blog that you can now search for and insert YouTube videos into your presentation slides. This means that you'll be able to insert your favorite videos in your presentations and play them to your audience when you're giving your presentations.



To see this new feature in action, check out this published presentation.



Haven't heard of Docs? Watch this video that explains what Google Docs is in plain English:







The YouTube Team

Posted:
We are constantly amazed by the YouTube community's creativity and skill, so we wanted to create something special that showcases all of the crafters, chefs, artists, techies and other masters that fearlessly share their genius on the site. Enter the Guru Challenge, in which a variety of experts ask you to show off your creative instincts (and do a little showing off of their own). Take them up on the challenge, and you might find your video featured on the home page for all to see -- not to mention the props you'll get for being favored by some of the best in the business.




Our first Guru Challenge-er is Zoo York, a cutting-edge skateboarding and apparel outfit. These guys seem to have endless imagination and came up with a clever way of spreading the word about their product (hint: it involves throwing cockroaches on suit-types). But now they want to hear from you. Make a response video and show them how you use your creativity to publicize yourself and what you love.









Influential designer, street-style maven and Zoo York supporter Marc Ecko kicks things off with his own response video:









So accept the challenge and show these guys how you spread the word about the things you care about most. And remember: Play it cool, don't disrespect, and you just might find your video blowing up in a New York minute.




Spread it!


Sadia H.


YouTube HowTo & Style

Posted:
Today, the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival kicked off its seventh year in lower Manhattan. Like YouTube, the festival is known for its eclectic mix of content, with a little bit of something for everybody. Which is why we're excited to let you know that IFC, a long time member of the YouTube community, will be bringing you red carpet coverage, celebrity interviews, Q&As and more. Another reason to pay attention to this year's fest? YouTube's own ArtieTSMITW, aka Brandon Hardesty, will be making his big screen debut in the official Tribeca selection, Bart Got a Room.







To hear more about other films and events taking place, read on...



For lovers of independent cinema, the 24 films in competition represent filmmakers from 18 different countries, more than half of whom are at the festival with their first ever feature film.



For those who prefer bigger budget fare, Gala screenings include the Wachowski Brother's much-anticipated adaptation of the 1960s animated series, Speed Racer, and the comedy Baby Mama, from Manhattan's own Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.



For music lovers, there's the Breaking the Band music showcase, curated by Grey's Anatomy and The OC music supervisor superstar, Alexandra Patsavas, featuring performances by The Hold Steady, The Virgins, Republic Tigers and Bad Veins.



For sports fans, the festival is teaming up with ESPN once again to present a showcase of films focusing on the spirit of competition.



Sound good? Then stay tuned to the Film & Animation Featured Videos page for IFC's daily coverage.



And to any YouTubers lucky enough to be there in person: send us your videos so we can share!



Ah, the ease of festival-going these days…



Enjoy,



Sara P.


YouTube Film

Posted:
It's Earth Day today, and as part of our ongoing Trendspotting Tuesday series, we're marking the occasion with a round-up of videos that reflect grassroots environmental action in the YouTube community.




Whether it's by showing you how to update your home in a more sustainable way, talking about "must-have" green items, or sharing tips on how you can be more ecologically responsible, the YouTube community is bursting with advice on how to alter your lifestyle to help the environment. Take the Earth-loving boys of GivingItAGo, for example. They have been working towards being self-sufficient for almost a year now, with their backyard doing triple duty as a vegetable garden, compost heap, and chicken coop. (They've even named their sunflowers after YouTube users. How sweet is that?)




Or watch aaron333's "veggie car," in which an Atlanta couple tells the story of how and why their car runs on vegetable oil. You might also want to check out Bulletprooffilm, who interviews the ffounders of Noon (a company that makes bags with solar panels which generate on-the-go power for iPods and cell phones), and green architect Michelle Kaufmann, who demonstrates a creative alternative for disposable chopsticks.




And that's just the tip of the ever-shrinking iceberg. If you're looking for ways to show our planet some love on this Earth Day and beyond, this playlist on our homepage will give you a great place to start:









Seeing green,


The YouTube Team

Posted:
If you spent any time watching YouTube recently, you might have seen a slew of videos uploaded by voters, news organizations, and the candidates surrounding the Pennsylvania primaries. A lot has happened on the campaign trail since the last primary in Mississippi over a month ago, and so we partnered with C-SPAN to see what issues are on voters' minds right now.



During the last three weeks, many of you around the country submitted responses to the question "What issue matters most to you in this election, and why?"; your videos touched on such issues as healthcare, education, the economy, and immigration. Among the most memorable was this video from a teenager concerned about the Iraq War, and JoeFelice's video called "Where's Washington", which uses a clever pun to discuss the importance of checking governmental power.



In the past week, the C-SPAN bus rolled across Pennsylvania to ask voters the same question, and hundreds of people weighed in. See the clips below from college students, parents, military veterans, local and state politicians, and other citizens who agreed to go on-camera to voice their hopes, fears and dreams about the country's future.







In this video, star tuba player Michael Stephan shows off his musical skills and then voices his thoughts about the skyrocketing costs of college tuition. In this passionate response, Councilwoman Elizabeth Goreham says that the environment is our No. 1 issue — and that she's not particularly happy with how politicians are currently addressing it. Several of the most powerful responses were also among the shortest, like this clip from Alex, a sophomore at Temple University who was diagnosed with cancer last year and has healthcare issues top of mind, or this one from Ada Tate, who's most concerned about gun laws.



C-SPAN broadcast some of the best responses on their national television program Washington Journal, highlighting a range of opinions about the issues that come up most often. Check out our playlist to watch more of these and other related videos.



With Senators Hillary Clinton and John McCain scoring victories yesterday in Pennsylvania, the race moves on to Indiana and North Carolina on May 6. Keep an eye on our You Choose '08 page to see which issues are weighing most heavily on voters' and candidates' minds.



Yours,

Steve G.

YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
Few issues in the public dialogue inspire as much passion as the issue of immigration. While most Americans recognize the importance of protecting the country's borders, there is still enormous debate about how we should treat the roughly 12 million undocumented workers currently living in the United States. The questions around immigration cut to the core of American identity, and the debate often finds itself at the nexus of politics, culture, geography, and security. Immigration isn't merely a political issue - it's a personal issue.







One of the most poignant examples we've seen of the immigration debate on YouTube has come from 9500Liberty, a channel started by Eric Byler to highlight the immigration battle taking place in Prince William County, Virginia. 9500 Liberty is the address of an intersection where immigration protests became heated after local policy makers debated an ordinance denying certain rights to local immigrants.



Most famously, Rep. Tom Tancredo brought the issue of immigration into the primary presidential race. In
this video, he asked YouTubers if they've been impacted by immigration. He received quite a number of video responses, like this one from hccowboy, who shares a personal story of how immigration has affected his workplace — in his opinion, for the worse. In a very different video response, tonymynd, whose parents came from Mexico to the United States illegally, argues in favor of treating all immigrants, regardless of their status, with respect.



The Courage Campaign has produced a series of videos in which people recount their immigrant stories. In this one, writer Arianna Huffington talks about her experience as an immigrant — and why she believes immigrants are sometimes used as political scapegoats. Meanwhile, this video from kocotv of a recent immigration protest in Oklahoma captures the raw emotional intensity of this debate.



And finally, as divisive as this issue is, some YouTubers have nevertheless been able to approach it from a comedic perspective. In this video from LatinoComedyProject, the popular "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" campaign becomes the set-up for a rather "un-PC" sketch about immigration.



To watch and hear more about this issue, check out our playlist below and of course feel free to join in on the conversation yourself.







Yours,

Steve G.

YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
We just launched beta versions of three new feature updates to improve overall management of your messages, contacts and videos. These tests are already being served to a small percentage of randomly selected users, but anyone can choose to opt in and test them out. Once logged in to your account, click the following links to start using the beta versions of the new Inbox, My Contacts and My Videos features.



NEW INBOX



Along with a slick new interface, the new YouTube messaging system sports significantly faster loading times and a smarter message throttling system (in other words, non-spammers should see "Sorry, please wait to send more messages" a whole lot less). Video comments, responses, shared videos, friend invites and personal messages can now be seen in one unified view, and a new counter will show the number of unread messages in each category. You can now send a message to multiple recipients, and other people can no longer see whether or not you have read their messages. Friend invites are now easier to manage, with the newest invites appearing on top of the list, new pagination controls, and fewer page refreshes all around.



MY CONTACTS



For the new My Contacts beta we changed the layout and functionality to make creating contacts and organizing your friends, subscribers and subscriptions much easier. You can select multiple contacts at once to view details, apply labels and send messages. You can also add a real name and email address to the info listed for a contact to make it easier to identify your friends when sharing videos or messaging (since you may not always remember that your friend Daniel is really vidcritic517). In addition, your Friends label is now reserved exclusively for users who you have confirmed to be your friend.



MY VIDEOS



The new My Videos beta includes a complete redesign of all video management tools for: uploading and editing videos, favorites and history. You can see details for all of your videos in one view and batch-select videos to perform multiple actions like adding videos to playlists and favorites. Sorting filters for time, date added, views and ratings have been added for your uploaded videos, favorites and viewing history. The new 'Info & Settings' page for your uploads has also been improved with collapsible menus for editing video information, thumbnails and options for broadcasting and sharing your videos.



We'd love to get your feedback on these new features before we launch the full release, so please post a comment here, upload a video or shoot us an email and let us know what you think!



Happy testing,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
The votes have been counted, the community has spoken, and a heavily armed truck containing $40,000 in cash and prizes is on its way to WaverlyFlams.



Congratulations to the 'Flams, who took home Toyota's loot with their own unique take on "living the dream", "Sherlockbot & The Case of the Purloined Piggybank". They win $25,000 in cash, a further $15,000 in production equipment, and the opportunity to meet with UTA Online talent agents.



The videos on our Friday homepage take-over are presented in the order that you voted for them, and we rounded the 10 finalists out to a funny dozen with two of the most popular entries from the first round of voting. After April 18th you can see all 10 runners-up on this Sketchies playlist and at the Sketchies 2 channel.




One of the most exciting aspects of this year's Sketchies was the fact that a number of prominent YouTubers, including TheHill88, tokenblackchic and recent YouTube Awards winner NeilCicierega made videos in support of their favorite contestants. In the kind of politicking more typically seen at YouTube's You Choose '08, WaverlyFlams and second-placed entrants POYKPAC engaged in some hilarious mud-slinging attack ads. You can check out the best of the campaign videos and supporter videos in the player below:







Thanks to all the entrants who packed the start of the year with sketch comedy creativity. It's been, indubitably, a blast. Now we look forward to all the comedy that's yet to come in '08.



Cheers,

Mark D.

YouTube Comedy

Posted:
We are very excited to announce some big changes to our policy enforcement systems. Having clear rules and fair consequences are genuinely important to us and these improvements have been a long time coming.



STRIKES THAT EXPIRE



It didn't seem fair that a user who uploads three videos that violate the Community Guidelines over the span of a year was being treated the same as someone who uploads those same videos over the course of a week. To change this, we've made it so that violations are now rescinded after six months. Accounts that had one or two warnings (as of April 16, 2008) for Community Guidelines (or Terms of Use) violations have been given a clean slate and are going forward under the new system, too!



Note that this does not apply to copyright claims, which don't expire and are not being cleared.



NEW NOTIFICATIONS



It used to be that if a video was removed for violating the Community Guidelines or due to a claim of copyright infringement, the user would be sent a notice via email. But these notices sometimes get caught by spam filters or go unread. The new system also displays the notice on YouTube the next time they access the site.



MUTING ACCOUNTS



We are experimenting with ways of correcting some types of abusive behavior that aren't as harsh or as permanent as suspending users. What we've come up with is to temporarily mute users, so that they can still use the site and watch videos, but they can't post new content. Right now it is set up to affect users who have two Community Guidelines warnings in a six-month period and will last two weeks. Let us know what you think, if it works well we may expand it to help address other kinds of abuse as well.



These are just a few of the first visible changes made to the way these things work. There is a lot of work being done behind the scenes to continue to improve upon them. We look forward to your feedback and further enhancing the safety and experience of the YouTube community.



For more information, please see our new Help Center article on General Policy Enforcement Information.



The YouTube Team

Posted:
What do Japan, Australia, and Ireland all have in common?



They are the newest countries from which users can now apply to become partners in the YouTube Partner Program.
Now open in six countries, the YouTube Partner Program is our way of recognizing the most popular and prolific original content creators in the YouTube community worldwide. It's only been four months since we first expanded in December, but the results have already exceeded our expectations: we've paid out more than $1,000,000 in total revenue to user partners as part of the Partner Program. The program continues to grow every day, and we are excited to welcome tokyomimecity and Hughsnews as two of our newest partners.



So for those YouTube users from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, or Australia: if you've built a significant audience on YouTube and would like to become a YouTube partner, apply now. To others around the world, please sit tight -- we hope to bring the program to new countries soon.



The YouTube Team

Posted:
In week two of our new ongoing series, “Trendspotting Tuesday," we’re focusing on collaboration videos. Collaborations on YouTube can take many forms, but broadly they are videos in which anywhere from two to a zillion YouTubers band together to create something that probably wouldn’t have been possible pre-Internet or pre-YouTube; things like community-driven narratives, artistic compositions created by people living on different continents, mass self-expression, even innovative ways of playing an “old world” game like tag.



Each one of these forms probably could have a takeover devoted to it, but for now we’re highlighting an assortment of collaboration videos to give you a general sense of the creative possibilities out there. They’re a true testament to the connections made on YouTube every second of every day:









Got an idea for a future trend feature or want to tell us about even better collaboration videos? Drop a comment below or head over to our trendspottingtuesday channel and leave us a note.




Ciao,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
Education is an issue in every election, because it is rooted in every community. However, in national elections we often find educational issues dwarfed by broader concerns - security, the economy, and healthcare. Here on YouTube we've seen the debate over education in America thrive - several advocacy groups have used the site to draw awareness to the issue and several YouTubers have pushed "upload" to have their say.







The EDinO8 campaign, funded by the Gates Foundation, started a YouTube channel to spearhead their online advocacy for keeping educational issues on the agenda of the presidential candidates. This video is their general overview of the current state of education in the United States—and it's not the most favorable report card. (In a UNICEF survey done in 2002, the U.S. ranked 18 out of 24 countries in the area of public education). The National Education Association's YouTube channel, a member of our nonprofit program, argue that better public schools are a basic right for every child. To highlight their concerns, they uploaded several questions for the presidential candidates to a special channel called Education Votes. On the news side, Katie Couric has used her editorial "Notebook" series to cite equally troubling statistics - this video challenges teachers and parents to take it up a notch.



Yet while few would dispute the need for educational reform, coming up with solutions is a more difficult task. In this video, a college student who plans on becoming a high school history teacher makes the case for school vouchers; only by expanding "school choice," he argues, will the state of education in the U.S. improve. Others, however, feel that the free market is the source of all the trouble. Filmmaker and college student Lucas Brown Eyes argues that the privatization of student loans and rising tuition costs are turning college students into modern day slaves, robbed of choice and saddled with debt.



Of course no other issue has stirred up more debate in recent years than the No Child Left Behind Act, signed into law by President Bush in 2001. This video from
seeprogress argues while that No Child Left Behind has its flaws, it should nevertheless be reauthorized and reformed, not scraped away entirely. Meanwhile, taking the opposite stance--and a very different approach--this video from JonathanAndrewSmith
uses college humor to highlight and skewer the policy's shortcomings.



And finally, to put the issue in perspective, beyond policy debates and partisan politics, watch this video from freesouljah, who reminds us that our greatest natural resource isn't oil—it's our children.



Yours,

Steve G.


YouTube News & Politics

Posted:

Posted:
You don't have to wait 'til November to cast your vote on YouTube. In fact, the polls close on April 15th for the most fiercely contested battle in the world of comedy video – Sketchies 2.



After the community voted for your favorite semi-finalists, a short list of ten have grappled with the concept of "living the dream," and come out laughing. Indubitably so, some might say. To see how our finalists worked the word "indubitably" into ten distinctly different sketches, you can check out this Sketchies 2 playlist.



For a video rundown on Sketchies 2, we turn this blog post over to last year's winners, Awkward Pictures, who somehow manage to keep smiling despite the fact that this year's prize is much bigger than last year's.







Sketchies isn't the only time of year you'll see great sketch comedy on YouTube, but in this second year of a growing tradition we've seen new faces and established talent take their comedy to new levels. If you want to have your say in this full-on comedic face-off, head on over to the official Sketchies 2 channel and give your favorite videos the thumbs-up (yes, you can vote for more than one entry).



Like most comedians, our finalists are clearly eager for your approval. Your votes really do make all the difference, and cut down on future therapy bills.



Cheers,

Mark D.

YouTube Comedy

Posted:
Some very cool new features have just been unveiled on YouTube, check 'em out...



VIDEO SHARING IMPROVEMENTS



We revamped the video watch page by adding more sharing features and a new streamlined design to the Share, Favorite, Playlists and Flag sections. We now show some top social sharing sites directly on the video watch page, making it easier for you to share your favorite videos with your network. These top sites are also personalized based on your usage - so if you Digg more often than you Facebook, Digg will show up instead. Video comments and responses have also been reorganized into a "Commentary" tab, including thumbnails for video responses and a handy scroll bar for easier navigation. The new "Statistics & Data" tab houses collapsible sections for recent ratings, video honors and sites linking to that video.



ADVANCED SEARCH OPTIONS



New advanced search options are now available anywhere you see a search field on YouTube. Just click "advanced search" to choose the results you want, based on different key word combinations such as exact phrases, all words, excluding certain words, etc.. You can also hone down your results further to find videos matching specific upload criteria like language, category, date uploaded, duration of video, as well as videos uploaded within a specific time period (i.e. "This Month, "This Week" and "Today").



MULTIFILE UPLOADER FOR MAC



When we launched our multifile uploader for Windows PC users last year, we promised to follow it up with a Mac-friendly version. Now Mac users can download the software and access the Multifile Upload page where you can upload several videos at once. Each video may be up to 10 minutes in length and up to 1GB in size, and all will be available in My Videos after processing.



Now, for the video version of these exciting changes, here's Mr. Pzottolo with this edition of YouTube News:







Keep your eyes peeled for more updates coming soon,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
When we announced our free analytics tool called YouTube Insight two weeks ago, we promised to update Insight with new features and information fairly quickly, and we weren't kidding. Today we're releasing a new feature that helps you better understand the viewing trends of your YouTube videos: a discovery tab that shows how viewers found your video, whether by searching on YouTube or Google, browsing under "related videos," receiving a link to the video from an email or website, or watching it in an embedded player off YouTube. Insight even breaks down the specific YouTube or Google search queries that led to your video, as well as the external websites driving traffic to your content. (Insight will show up to 50 inbound links.)



We think you'll find this helpful in several ways. For example, users can learn how different parts of their identity on the web (perhaps their pages on MySpace or Facebook) are effective in driving traffic to their content. Partners can reach out to form relationships with those publishers who consistently point readers to their videos on YouTube. And since advertisers can now access reports detailing the search queries that lead viewers to their videos, they can make more informed decisions about the keywords and bids they select to appear on Google.com.



You can find these new metrics under the "Discovery" tab within the Insight dashboard. Click on the "Insight" button under "Account > My Videos."



As always, we're excited to hear about the many inspired ways in which you'll put Insight's resources to good use. Let us know what you think by commenting below.



The YouTube Team

Posted:
Every day you surprise and delight us with the way you use YouTube and the things that rise up on the site. From the tecktonik dance trend that germinated in France and spread like ivy throughout the Internet to the amazing video collaborations that could only happen because of the Internet, we love that YouTube can be a catalyst for so much creativity, change, and connection.



To that end, we're launching a new home page initiative called "Trendspotting Tuesday." This means every Tuesday, we'll highlight one trend that's alive on YouTube with a full, 24-hour home page takeover and accompanying blog post. We'll archive the playlists on our Trendspotting Tuesday channel, which is also where you can leave us comments about the trends that you've noticed and think we should highlight.



The first trend we're featuring is the rise of the political music video. Certainly users and politicians are creating these kinds of videos around the world, but where it's really heating up lately is around the highly scrutinized U.S. elections. The now-infamous Obama Girl video was probably the first nationally-recognized "pioneer" in this genre, but these days barely a week goes by without a new political music video gaining popularity on YouTube. The most talked about political music video we've seen on YouTube is will.i.am's "Yes We Can" anthem for Senator Obama -- it has 4.9 million views.



Some political music videos are passionate anthems in support of a particular candidate, like this video from salsera2984, a Hillary Clinton supporter. Others take a more playful approach, like the viral "McCain Girls" ballad about their favorite GOP candidate. Meanwhile, others use music as a means of crossing cultural boundaries, such as this Spanish-language video in support of Barack Obama. To see more, check out the homepage today or peruse this playlist:







...and if you're inspired to join the trend and create your own political music video, we have just one piece of advice: go easy on the cross dressing. Or maybe not – this is the kind of stuff that makes YouTube so weird and wonderful.



Best,

The YouTube Team




P.S. Drop a comment below with your ideas for future Trendspotting Tuesday features!

Posted:
When we launched our You Choose '08 Voter Video programs -- highlighting your videos around the 2008 caucuses and primaries in Iowa, New Hampshire, and on Super Tuesday -- we pretty much figured we had the primary season covered. Whoops. This election has turned out to be one of the most exciting and contentious in decades -- and the next big stop on the campaign trail is Pennsylvania.



That's why we're partnering with C-SPAN to promote your videos leading up to the April 22nd Pennsylvania Primaries. We're asking for your answers to the question, "What is the most important issue to you in this election?" Shoot a short video with your response and upload it to C-SPAN's YouTube channel. You can also vote on your favorite videos, which CSPAN will broadcast nationally in the week leading up to the primaries. Hear more from the network itself:







In the days leading up to the primary, there will be even more action on the C-SPAN election bus going through the Keystone State; that's where Pennsylvanian voters will be offering their own thoughtful responses to this burning question.



So submit your video today, then stay tuned to C-SPAN -- on YouTube and on TV -- to hear what other people are saying about this election.



Yours,

Steve G.



YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
In the second of our six-part You Choose '08 series on the issues in this election, we examine one of the most hotly-debated issues of the last two decades: healthcare. Based on polls, most Americans agree that health care reform should be a top priority of the next administration. But just how should the government go about reforming America's healthcare system? YouTubers from all sides of the issue have been weighing in.





In her video “Frustration In America," faintstarlite vents about the U.S. healthcare system. As an American citizen who recently returned from living in England, where she didn't have to pay for healthcare, she provides a unique perspective on the issue. Over 600,000 people have watched her video, in which she concludes that health should be considered a basic human right. Check out some of the responses.



But not everyone believes that we should be taking cues from our European friends. Registered Nurse NanaHall55 believes the real answer lies in getting insurance companies to lower their premiums. And PropagandaBuster believes we should run from any form of government-controlled healthcare.



If the answer to your pain is getting some work done on your funny bone, check out this animated (though scathing) attack on the health insurance industry. On the other side of the debate, watch Jackie Mason's vlog in which he excoriates Senator Clinton and Senator Obama for their respective healthcare proposals.



And if you're more interested in the questions than the answers, check out IMedExchanges's YouTube channel. They're a consortium of doctors who have taken to YouTube to ask the presidential candidates questions about their healthcare policies. Their concerns provide an important window into the concerns of medical professionals who deal with our healthcare system on a daily basis.



Yours,

Steve G.


YouTube News & Politics

Posted:
Today we are proud to launch Living Legends, a new program that invites luminaries from around the world to communicate directly with the YouTube community by answering your questions and becoming a genuine participant on the site. We plan on bringing you an exciting roster of leaders in film, sports, politics, and a whole lot more. But, first, we begin with a little rock 'n' roll.







Only these blokes are not exactly little, with more than 24 studio LPs released and over 200 million albums sold. They've got an unquenchable passion for American blues and R&B and have blended it into a uniquely British import that has influenced countless musicians around the world. Take a look at the video they made just for YouTube, part of which was curiously shot in a bathroom:







Yep, it's the Rolling Stones. In addition to their video calling out for your burning questions, today's home page features some rare behind-the-scenes footage from the band, along with a few truly unique presentations of their classic "Start Me Up," including renditions by a marching band, YouTube Award Winner and "Chocolate Rain" scribe TayZonday, and a hands-only (!) version from The Manualist:








So start thinking of a good question for Mick & Keef, fire up those video cameras, and upload your question to the Living Legends. And, of course, stay tuned for more legends to come…



Getting Our Ya-Ya's Out,

The YouTube Team

Posted:
For the last three weeks, the protests in Tibet have riveted the world's attention and sparked a firestorm of debate here on YouTube. Beginning on March 10, the 49th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's exile, monks in Lhasa led what were intended to be a series of peaceful demonstrations for Tibetan independence. But on March 14, the demonstrations turned violent and a massive crackdown by the Chinese authorities ensued. The Chinese government blamed the violence on unlawful protesters, while Tibetans accused Chinese authorities of suppressive and abusive tactics.



From his home in India, the Dalai Lama urged both sides to exercise restraint, maintaining that violence is not the means to a durable political solution to the Tibetan issue. The violence has subsided for now, but the situation remains tense as China attempts to stabilize the region and repair its international image before hosting this year's Summer Olympics Games.







Needless to say, there are many sides to the China/Tibet debate, which has been demonstrated in the videos we've seen over the last two weeks. Some of them, such as this one from NZKOF, takes the position that Tibet... "was, is, and always will be a part of China." Other videos take a very different view, such as this video from dfherman, which was filmed during a pro-Tibet rally in New York City.



Some of the videos strive to be as objective as possible, such as this clip from nocommenttv, a compilation of footage from the March 14 riots. And, of course, some videos are extremely personal. In this video, a Tibetan man now living in Canada gives an emotional firsthand account of his experiences under Chinese rule.



Yours,

The YouTube News & Politics Team